Dealing with the issue of automotive oils, we have come to a problem that puzzles many drivers: how often to change oil, and how to do it in a proper way.
If we ignore the running-in period, when it is advisable that oil is changed after the first two or three or maybe five thousand kilometers, there is no simple answer to this question. It all depends on the vehicle model, operating conditions, and, actually, on the quality of the oil. However, there are principal aspects that should be taken into account.
The recommended oil change interval is for sure indicated in your vehicle’s service book. In vehicles with an automatic gear, there is a gear oil change interval, too, but more on that later. Now, basically, we have to understand what the recommended interval is. The fact is that it is calculated on the basis of the conditions that the producer believes to be the average for the operation of the vehicle. Usually, these conditions are such that our cars can only “dream of”.
If you mostly drive long distances and with a uniform traffic flow on the highway, with no jerks in traffic jams and in the zone where the air is dust-free, such advice may be considered as appropriate. However, in our conditions, the oil change intervals of 15, 20, even 30 thousand kilometres are evidently too long. Consider the fact that producers of vehicles are primarily interested to prevent your vehicle from breaking down during the guarantee period. Even if the oil is changed less frequently than indicated in the service book, your engine is sure to run through its guarantee period, but it is unlikely that you will be happy with the engine performance once the guarantee period is over.
Using the car to travel short distances in the city, frequent starting-ups and dusty air, which cannot be 100 percent cleaned even by using the best air filters, low-quality fuel – all these conditions make us reduce the oil change interval by one-third or even twofold if all of the above mentioned occurs in extreme forms.
There are two methods of changing oil: the usual one that includes a preliminary discharge of oil, and the method for rapid change of oil – the vacuum method. The first method is better for the vehicle, because in the process of the traditional discharge through the oil drainage outlet, most of the sediment accumulated on the bottom of the oil pan is removed. Therefore, we recommend to alternate the vacuum oil change method with the traditional one, and only on the condition that you do not change oil according to the nominal interval but according to the interval that corresponds to the actual operating conditions of your vehicle (i.e., more often).